LOCAL government officials of Medina town in Misamis Oriental has declared the diarrhea outbreak under control, although the cause of the outbreak still remains a mystery.
Medina’s Rural Health Unit physician Dr. Maria Alma Enriquez said, in a public hearing conducted by the Misamis Oriental Provincial Board on Thursday, that as of July 13, there are only 19 diarrhea patients remain at the Medina Hospital from 452 patients admitted last week.
Enriquez said the outbreak only has one fatality, 71-year-old Antonio Magallanes who died of severe dehydration.
Medina town Mayor Donato Chan said all efforts are into finding how the town's water supply got contaminated by the Cholera bacteria.
Since the laboratory test of the water samples from the region’s Department of Health was released in July 10, the local government unit ordered the cutting of the water supply pipelines of the Medina Rural Water Works Sanitation Cooperative (Merwasco).
Merwasco supplies the water of the four major villages affected by the outbreak: North Polacion, South Poblacion, Cabug, and Maanas.
As of July 13, the Merwasco customers in the affected areas have not been receiving water supply from the water utility.
Merwasco is providing makeshift faucets in various parts of the town so that the residents can have water for purposes other than drinking such as for bathing.
"Amo silang giingnan nga naa ni para naa moy ikapang ligo or ipanglaba pero ayaw lang jud imna. If mu inom man gani sila, ipabukal sa jud ug ayo. (We told them that these are so that they can have water for bathing or for washing clothes but they should not drink it. If they want to drink it, they should make sure to boil it first)," Chan said.
Chan said the LGU is entertaining the probability that the fault might not exactly lie with Merwasco.
He said that other villages, aside from the four mentioned, were also affected but are actually not receivers of Merwaco water.
These barangays are relying on deep wells that are now also under chlorination by the local health officials.
"For now, the priority need of Medina is for Merwasco and the Medina Water system to have funding to rehabilitate its water system pipes nga daan na, some of which are about thirty years old na," Chan said.
Chan said he is concern about the anonymous complaint letter, saying that the local government unit of Medina did not take action about the diarrhea outbreak.
He clarified that, since day one, their team members have been monitoring, investigating, and giving out help to the patients.
"Katong 452 patients gani about 70 or 60 percent ato kay out patients lamang kasi we told them na bisan isa pa ka bese mo nagkalibanga, mu.adto na dayon mo sa local health unit before pa mo padehydrate, (In the 452 patients, about 70 or 60 of that are actually outpatients. Becasue we really told them that if you at least have bowel movement once to go directly to the local health unit before it turns into dehydration)," Chan said.
DOH has sent experts from Manila to assist in the investigation of the water supply in Medina.